S. Korean, US first ladies seek rapport with tea time, confab, stroll

By Yonhap
  • Published : Nov 7, 2017 - 21:04
  • Updated : Nov 7, 2017 - 21:05
As Presidents Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump met for a summit on North Korea, alliance and trade on Tuesday, their wives got chummy with confabs, tea time and a brief stroll around the presidential compound.

South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook and her counterpart Melania Trump met for the third time when Trump visited the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in central Seoul for talks with Moon in the afternoon.

They previously met when Moon visited Washington DC in June for the first summit with Trump and the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, in July.

South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook (right) and US first lady Melania Trump (left) meet children at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Nov. 7, 2017. (Yonhap)

Kim first spoke with Melania for some 20 minutes on the first floor of Cheong Wa Dae's main building from 3:35 p.m., when the two leaders kicked off their summit dominated by the issue of North Korea's escalating nuclear threats.

"I welcome you here with all my heart," Kim said. "I believe the state visit by you (and President Trump) will help enhance peace in Korea and deepen trust between the two countries."

Kim then showed Melania the portraits of former South Korean first ladies hung on the walls of a meeting room in the presidential office.

The two then took a stroll around the presidential complex strewn with autumn trees, flowers and fallen leaves. There, Kim reportedly introduced a number of South Korea's unique wildflowers.

After their walk, the two were greeted by a group of children, including some from the families of US military and diplomatic personnel here.

As a token of gratitude for the warm welcome, Kim and Melania gave them mufflers in white, red and blue -- the colors of the South Korean and US national flags -- and took photos, the presidential officials said.

The two later entered Sangchunjae, a Korean-style house used to serve foreign dignitaries. There, they drank a type of black tea, named "Serene Morning of PyeongChang." The tea has been specially designed to promote the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

They sat next to a folding screen with a painting of peonies, which was used to show aspirations for national prosperity and well-being during ancient royal events. The screen was set up there as an expression of hope for peace on the Korean Peninsula and enhanced friendship between South Korea and US, officials here said.

Tea was served with dried persimmon that Kim made, the officials said.